Sail Lanka Yachting Group and Building a Future Foundation are to replicate in the north of Sri Lanka, their successful boat-building and marine training project for youth targeting the leisure industry.
Following the recent inauguration of the project in Velanai in the Jaffna district, Pierre Pringiers, Chairman of SLYG said, “Our idea is to replicate in the north of Sri Lanka, the successful ‘Building a Future Foundation’ project which we developed in south Sri Lanka to assist the local economies, following the devastating tsunami of 2004. Twelve youth from the north have already followed a theoretical and practical training course of 12-months duration at the BAFF training center in southern Sri Lanka.”
The project was inaugurated with Douglas Devananda, Minister of Fisheries as Chief Guest and in the presence of several distinguished guests with the blessings of the Governor of the Northern Province, Jeevan Thiagarajah.
“We believe Jaffna has the potential to be our new hub for marine and experiential tourism. It will become our third center of operations after Mirissa and the Port City Colombo Marina, and will allow us to develop local and cross-border tourism. The 540 square metre new SLYG training centre and boatyard is situated on a 4.5-acre land in Velanai.”
The Jaffna training centre will conduct courses in the basic skills of mechanical engineering, electricity, welding, refrigeration and air-conditioning, followed by hands-on experience in dedicated boat building, and outboard and inboard engine repair and maintenance. “We are aiming to bring Jaffna closer to Colombo by developing cruises to connect the Port City Colombo Marina and Jaffna so that it becomes our new hub for water-based tourism and marine tourism in the North, and eventually cross-border tourism as well,” Pringiers continued.
“We plan to develop ferry boats with the Ceylon Shipping Corporation to be initially used locally, followed by commercial versions and boats for cross-border sailing in the future.”
Sail Lanka Charter – a SLYG company – has for several years been offering cruises around the islands off Jaffna from October to April. “The yachts operated by Sail Lanka are mainly designed and built in Sri Lanka by our sister companies, BAFF Polymech (Pvt) Ltd and Solar Impulse,” Pringiers added.
“The training is totally free and all students will also be provided free breakfast, lunch, safety equipment and a daily allowance,” Pringiers explained.